WWF RAW for the Xbox
Looks good, could be so much better
Okay, well... one of the oddest recent trends in wrestling shows no signs of stopping. That is, very little in the way of good matches on TV, unless you happen to own a video game system.
Yeah, some of the best contests I've seen in recent years haven't been at genuine rasslin' pay-per-views. Rather, they've been between my friends and I on my video game consoles.
We went bonkers for WCW/nWo Revenge on the Nintendo 64. Ditto for WrestleMania 2000 and WWF No Mercy on the same platform. Lesser enjoyment was derived from WCW vs. The World on Playstation, but damn -- it had its moments.
Now, we're into the era of PS2s, Game Cubes and Xboxes. Haven't played any wrestling games on the Sony or Nintendo. But as the proud owner of an Xbox, I can now say I've played WWF RAW.
It's produced by THQ, the company that made all the games I listed two paragraphs above. In the last generation of game systems, THQ emerged as the clear leader of wrestling game manufacturers. The games on the Nintendo were especially good. By the time No Mercy was released about a year ago, you had to rate it a solid 10 out of 10.
There was no way to make a game better on that system.
Now, the new generation of consoles gives us a whole new range of possibilities. Graphics can be better, game play smoother, options more numerous.
The Xbox is a hell of an impressive system. Word is the games that have come out for it so far haven't even come close to exploiting its possibilities.
So, in that sense, I can forgive THQ for making RAW a solid 6 out of 10.
Yeah, the graphics are stunning. The customization feature on the wrestlers is awesome (I've never created such realistic looking Gagnes before!). But the options aren't great. And the gameplay. Well, it's lacking.
I'll start there. Running wrestlers into the ropes is awkward. So is picking up objects. And be careful about going for a pin. Often when your opponent kicks out, your wrestler will lie on the mat for several seconds, making him open to attack.
So, the incredible smoothness of the last generation of THQ games isn't there. But I have other complaints.
No Royal Rumble match. No way to import music from the Xbox's hard drive. Despite all the options on the create-a-wrestler, you still can't truly customize the look of your wrestlers. It only allows so many colors or patterns for ring wear. You can't create custom face paint, you can't tweak hair styles.
Also, word is that hidden wrestlers are the McMahons, and -- get this -- Fred Durst.
I've read a lot about entering cheat codes in the game to unlock WCW wrestlers. Well, the cheats I've seen on the net don't work. So, as far as I know, you can't play Booker T, DDP, Huricane Helms or many other wrestlers who should be in this game.
In short, I guess this is a good start for a powerful new system. Something for THQ to build on. Next time around, I'll expect a lot more.
I might be getting more soon anyway. Acclaim is producing its Legends of Wrestling game for the Xbox, release date sometime in May. I've heard a lot of good things about the way that game plays on the PS2. It's also said to have awesome customization features.
I look forward to playing it. Especially since The Iron Sheik is in that game.
The Iron Sheik? Hmm...
No reason I can't make him on WWF RAW.